Working on finding your first internship? Do not get discouraged if you did not have any definite prospects after this fall’s career fair. There are many ways to connect with employers after the career fair and the best way to learn is from those who have already experienced it. Come on a quick trip through the adventures of Bayley Bellers, Will Distl and James Coday and how they locked down their first internships!
Bayley is a Chemical Engineering student who had the opportunity to work for Missouri S&T with the Facilities and Operations group working with the geothermal system on campus. She worked directly under the director and with five other students, all working on different degrees. There was even an aerospace engineering student working with her. Bayley had never had an engineering internship before so during her search she went to MinerJobs (now called HireMiners) and found the listing for the Facilities Operations Intern. She applied in late April, and soon after that she was asked to come in for an interview. After the interview concluded, she had an offer on the spot. There were team projects which included water savings analysis, updating their website, and electricity cost analysis. She also had the opportunity to learn as much as she wanted from the multiple engineers who do project design and renovations around campus. Additionally, since Bayley was in Rolla during the summer she could take online or in-class courses on top of the 40 hour per week, $10 per hour internship. Since the school semester started she has been able to continue working with Facilities and Operations.
Will Distl is currently a Senior double majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Management. It was not until Will’s junior year that he was finally able to get his first engineering work experience. It was through his determination to work for a specific company, Acme Constructors. He went to the fall career fair his sophomore year, spoke to them and received an interview, but was not offered a position. He went to the spring career fair his sophomore year and spoke to Acme briefly just to make sure they did not forget about him, but was not offered an interview this round. Third and last time, at the fall career fair of Will’s junior year he spoke to Acme more in depth, interviewed and scored an amazing co-op experience with them as a Project Manager Assistant. Getting his first internship was stressful, required lots of waiting and determination. Some advice Will has for those looking for their first internship includes the following:
“Companies will remember you and always go for more work experience, it is beyond necessary in the world.”
James Coday is currently a Senior in Civil Engineering. James had heard great things about a company called CannonDesign so he went to their company's website from an email that was sent out to the CArE (Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering) department, and applied for the Electrical Engineering Internship application that was available. He never knew anyone who had worked for the company directly but knew they helped out with the Solar House Design Team. CannonDesign called James back and asked him if he would like to interview for the structural engineering internship instead and he said, “sure, why not.” He was interviewed and after a few weeks they offered him the position. This proves you do not have to go to the career fair or need to know someone in the company to get experience. Just putting yourself out there allows you to have better chances than giving up after the career fair. James’ advice to students is the following:
“To keep doing what you like. Just because it does not relate to engineering directly, does not mean it won’t relate to the workplace and your career.”
Lastly, there are resources with the Career Opportunities and Employer Relations (COER) department on campus. They have resources that range from reviewing your LinkedIn account to the suit closet. They are always willing to help out students with figuring out the process of obtaining an internship. If you have no idea where to start, go to COER and they will help you get your foot in the door. Do not give up on finding experience because it is one of the best ways to get your dream job!